Merton awarded Fairtrade status

After 4 years of hard campaigning the London Borough of Merton has been awarded Fairtrade status.

Earlier this month a representative of the Fairtrade Foundation met with the Mayor of Merton Councillor Martin Whelton and Stephen Hammond MP to officially declare Merton a Fairtrade borough.

For this accolade to be awarded, local volunteers in the Merton Fairtrade Group worked to achieve five key goals tasked by the Fairtrade Foundation including building a working relationship with the local council, encouraging local businesses to use fairtrade products, ensuring local community groups, schools, and faith groups to support and encourage Fairtrade.

To coincide with Merton being awarded Fairtrade status children from Merton Park primary school took part in the worlds biggest banana eating event with over 350000 people throughout the UK and Ireland pledging to eat fairtrade banana’s in a 24-hour period. The challenge was set to highlight just how easy it is to give the farmers a fair deal.

Caroline Katiyo, Chair of the Fairtrade Merton Group, said:

“We are thrilled that Merton has now achieved Fairtrade status. It has been a privilege to meet with so many people in Merton throughout the campaign who support Fairtrade and seek to help others through buying fairtrade products. It was also great to see so many children supporting the campaign in a fun and memorable way. We hope that educating children to think of the issues around Fairtrade will not only encourage them to think of others but also encourage them to change purchasing choices of people in their households”.

Merton Park Primary headteacher Pete Steward said:

“I am so pleased that Merton Park was able to participate in such a worthwhile event that was great fun, as well as making the children more aware of their world.”

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Simpson said:

“This is fantastic news and Merton should be proud of its new status as it proves what a forward thinking and progressive borough we are. Its excellent that Merton residents and businesses have taken the values of Fairtrade to heart to support the poorest people in the world.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

·Five key goals: To encourage businesses to switch to using fairtrade products and encourage local community groups, schools, faith groups to support and encourage Fairtrade.
·To ensure a percentage of shops and cafes in the borough offer fairtrade products
·To gain support from the local council for the campaign and having a fairtrade option as part of the procurement process
·To set up a local steering group
·To gain media coverage within the locality in the promotion of Fairtrade.
·The Fairtrade brand is now recognised by 70% of UK consumers with over 4500 products licensed to carry the trademark. Seven out of 10 households now purchase fairtrade goods.